Lee Burr

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Lee Burr
- United States



There are many false attributions identifying artworks- mainly paintings- as having been done entirely by my hand. These false attributions appear online, and even appear on high profile sites including sites such as Artnet, Artprice, and other auction sites such as Ebay. There are no doubt others. The following posting explains the origin of the confusion and this artist’s history with the hope that this deception might end.


Not yet having completed my degree at the University of Southern California, I opened my first studio in the mid 50’s. In 1960 I continued at my studio and headed design at a then seller of ‘decorative art’. The firm had eight to ten artist’s replicating my designs. Seeking greater creative control, I resigned about two years later.

I continued to paint personal works- small paintings all- during and after that association. I had completed about fifty to sixty works by 1964; those original paintings all carried the signature Lee Burr.


In the fall of 1964, with a loan from my family, I and my younger brother Stuart, opened Vanguard Studios with the belief that an organization could be established to offer ‘decorative art’ with higher standards of quality that was then offered by other firms. I closed my studio and set- about designing art product to be replicated by staff artists, with the aid of silk screen printing guiding the over-painting. The business was soon profitable. I brought in outside illustrators to add to the designs. Urethane castings of carvings and sculpture (Vanathane) were created and saw instant acceptance by furniture dealers internationally. Framed prints and posters were added to the product mix. Vanguard Studios Incorporated and became a public company in 1969, the stock of which was traded on what is now NASDAQ. Vanguard Studios had become, as far as I am aware, the largest seller of decorative art globally.

VANGUARD PRODUCT- Van Gaard, Stuart, Burton, Lee Reynolds et al.

Vanguard Studios, over the 35 year life of that enterprise produced hundreds of thousands of paintings bearing many signatures- the most important of which was the signature “Lee Reynolds”.

Vanguard Studios produced castings of sculptures, hand carvings done by my hand and the hand of others- they were unsigned.

During my tenure, Vanguard employed about 10 artists replicating designs done both by my hand and the hand of others. In most cases the original artwork intended to be replicated, was destroyed during the production process, yet there remains the possibility that some of these example paintings were not destroyed, but sold and remain in private collection. There may be only a dozen or so original example works in existence and as yet, unidentified.

No production artworks ever touched my hand. Production artworks were in fact all painted by talented staff artists, appointed only after a demanding approval process. Several staff artists have gone on to great success in their own right.

Over the course of the past year I have reviewed thousands of artworks submitted by their now current owners, in an attempt to indentify truly original works. Many of the works submitted for review, were both designed and painted by staff artists at Vanguard Studios, and carry an interesting history.

To this day, only a few originals- works done entirely by my hand- have been positively identified, and they have all been signed “Lee Burr” or “Lee Reynolds Burr”.